CERP: Day 34 – Diogenes Ep. 39.

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XXXIX. To Monimus, do well (p. 165)
Well, this is an interesting one.  Firstly, I usually see the “practice to die” in Stoic contexts, I don’t recall ever seeing it in a Cynic one.  Secondly, since Stoicism has effectively no conception of an afterlife, this view stands out.  For Stoics, the pneuma of the sould returns to its source, and only the soul of the Sage might in some capacity live on, but still not past Ekpyrosis, beyond which only Zeus lives.

So, this conceptions of Hades as a place to which the soul travels (after what appears to be a true physical journey) where even the souls of philosophers are give a higher standing of sorts to those enslaved by their passions, by typhos.

It’s difficult for me personally to decide where in a text an author wants one to extract a metaphorical lesson on the nature of the soul and the consequences of life here on earth, and where the author is saying, “No really, this happens.  Don’t screw it up.”

Maybe it’s not important for the modern reader, but in trying to learn to think like the folks for whom these were written, I wish the distinction were clearer.


This is part of the Cynic Epistles Reading Plan.

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